Sony’s SmartWatch range has firmly established the company’s place in the wearable tech market since its launch, and the announcement of the Apple Watch is yet another signal that smartwatches are going to be the next big battle in the tech world. With the launch of Sony’s latest model, the SmartWatch 3, just around the corner, we compare the differences between the newcomer and its predecessor, the SmartWatch 2. See also: Best smartwatches of 2014
Readers should note that this comparison is based on our review of the SmartWatch 2 and the SmartWatch 3's available features and specs at time of writing, as well as a brief hands-on with the SmartWatch 3.
Sony SmartWatch 2 vs Sony SmartWatch 3: Price
The SmartWatch 3 will cost €229.99, and we’re predicting the UK price to be around the same mark, or possibly slightly lower. This is a clear £100 more expensive than the current street price of the SmartWatch 2, but roughly on par with current competitors like the LG G Watch R and the Moto 360. Read our head-to-head comparison of the SmartWatch 3's biggest rivals here.
Sony SmartWatch 2 vs Sony SmartWatch 3: Design
For the latest update to its flagship wearable, Sony is sticking to its guns with a square, phone-like design, rather than the more traditional round design sported by the latest rivals.
In terms of looks, the SmartWatch 3 works on the same principle as the SmartWatch 2 by featuring a detachable ‘core’ that can be fitted with interchangeable straps in different colours. The launch options will be ‘classic’ black and ‘sport’ lime, with additional pink and white bands to go on sale after launch for €24 - around £20.
The SmartWatch 3 is a little more rounded than its predecessor, as well as being more rectangular with the core measuring 36x10x51mm as opposed to the previous model’s 42x9x41mm. Aside from being longer and thinner, the SmartWatch 3 hasn’t changed that much in terms of dimensions.
What has changed, however, is the weight. Whereas it’s older brother weighed a hefty 123g – heavier than an iPhone 5 – the new edition has been hitting the gym, slashing its weight down to a mere 83g.
Sony SmartWatch 2 vs Sony SmartWatch 3: Screen
While the SmartWatch 3’s transflective LCD screen is the same 1.6” size as before, the resolution has been upped, bringing it to 320x320px. While the 220x176px resolution of the second SmartWatch is hardly shameful, this is nevertheless a clear improvement.
Sony SmartWatch 2 vs Sony SmartWatch 3: Hardware and Specs
One of the big features of the latest iteration of Sony wearables is the upgrade in IP ratings from IP57, denoting water resistance, to IP68 signifying full water and dust-proofing. Like Sony’s Xperia Z range, its latest SmartWatch is fully waterproof up to one meter and for up to 30 minutes.
As with virtually all Android Wear devices, it comes standard with 4GB of onboard memory, 512MB of RAM and Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity. This is a big step up from the minimal specs of the SmartWatch 2. We only have approximate figures, as Sony refuses to release the official numbers, but this could be to save face: 64MB of RAM and 256MB of flash memory are nothing to shout about.
Sony claims its new model will last for up to two days with standard usage, and while this is a slight downgrade from the SmartWatch 2’s stated battery life of three to four days, it’s not surprising given the increased demands of the device’s power.
Both SmartWatches have the same array of sensors, including accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyro and GPS. We had hoped that Sony might take the opportunity to include a barometer to factor elevation into the device’s fitness measurements, but apparently not.
Sony SmartWatch 2 vs Sony SmartWatch 3: Software
One of the main thrusts of Sony’s promotional campaign for this latest batch of tech has been the cross-device ‘Lifelogger’ app, which collates fitness and lifestyle information from various linked devices to provide an overall picture of your life, including major activities, goals and milestones.
This replaces previous fitness apps on the SmartWatch 2 such as Walkmate and Runtastic, rolling all sports and exercise functions into one app that can pair with your phone and computer to provide more comprehensive data. Otherwise, the Android Wear OS means that there’s not a huge amount of variation between the two generations.